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A thrilling tale of passion, vengeance, and redemption.

Recently, our ace reporter Mr. Sato was poking around YouTube when he came across a video that caught his eye. No, the reason Mr. Sato felt compelled to watch the video wasn’t because it featured images of busty swimsuit model Anna Konno. It was because the title was exactly the same as that of an article he’d written just a few days prior.

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“Exclusive: I Visited the Set of Popular Swimsuit Model Anna Kono’s Internet Hare Nodogoshi Video Ad! I Fell Under the Spell of Her Perfect Body-Hidenori Sato” the video’s title announced. Yep, whoever had uploaded it even included our guy’s name.

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▼ Hidenori Sato, written in kanji characters

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The video turned out to be a series of still screen grabs of the text and photos of Mr. Sato’s article. With his blood boiling, he fired off a YouTube comment to the uploader, whom we’ll just call “Masuo.”

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Mr. Sato: “You just copied my article to make this video, right?”
Masuo: “I’m sorry. If I’ve offended you, I’ll delete the video.”

The video has indeed been deleted (but you can still read Mr. Sato’s article here). But now Mr. Sato was overcome with a morbid curiosity to meet the man who’d copied his work. Hoping to set up a meeting, he sent a private YouTube message, plus another comment on the video, which generated this exchange:

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Mr. Sato: “I sent you a private YouTube message. Can you please read it?”
Masuo: “I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to check my messages.”

Now Mr. Sato was really starting to get upset. Masuo’s profile showed he’d created his YouTube account in 2010, and with that much experience, plus the demonstrated ability to correctly upload a video, he should be able to figure out how to check his messages.

Still, Mr. Sato had one option left. Masuo’s account information had a link to his personal blog, where there’s also an email form, so Mr. Sato filled it out with this message:

The video you uploaded, “Exclusive: I Visited the Set of Popular Swimsuit Model Anna Kono’s Internet Hare Nodogoshi Video Ad! I Fell Under the Spell of Her Perfect Body-Hidenori Sato,” is unmistakably an unauthorized copy of my article, “Exclusive: I Visited the Set of Popular Swimsuit Model Anna Kono’s Internet Hare Nodogoshi Video Ad! I Fell Under the Spell of Her Perfect Body.”

We have saved the download data, and after conferring with our legal counsel, have begun filing for legal action. We would like meet with you in person to discuss what your intention was in making the copy. The circumstances will be taken into consideration as our company decides what course to take moving forward.

For that purpose, we would like you to come to our offices. We are awaiting your prompt response. Thank you.”

Actually, everything about legal action was a lie, but Mr. Sato felt he needed to send a bold message to ensure a response. He also followed up with yet another YouTube comment informing Masuo about the email sent via his blog. This did the trick, and just one day later, he got a response!

Masuo: “I deeply apologize for what I did. As for my intent in making the video, I thought it was a good article, and wanted people to see it. As for coming to you offices, I live in Yamaguchi [on the other end of Japan’s main island of Honshu from Tokyo], so, if possible, I would like to discuss the matter by phone. I am hoping you will be lenient with me.”

Masuo’s way of thinking was reasonable, as it would save all parties involved a lot of time and energy. But Mr. Sato was slowly beginning to think that meeting Masuo was his destiny, and so he took the only measure he had left, sending this email.

Mr. Sato: “Thank you for your response, and for explaining that you live in Yamaguchi. As it just so happens, I have plans to travel there soon, so I would like to speak with you face-to-face at that time.”

This, too, was a lie, as Mr. Sato had no such travel plans. Still, his duplicity was once again effective, as Masuo agreed to meet with him at a restaurant in Yamaguchi at 9 in the morning on the agreed-upon date. Mr. Sato also exchanged phone numbers with him, just in case they ran into difficulties meeting up.

However, even if he took the earliest flight out of Tokyo’s Haneda airport, Mr. Sato could not arrive in time for a 9 a.m. meeting. So instead he flew out the day before, landing in Hiroshima Airport.

▼ At Haneda

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▼ Getting off the plane in Hiroshima

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From there, he rented a car and made the 90-minute drive through the dark, foggy mountains to his hotel in Yamaguchi.

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After a post-drive cup of tea, Mr. Sato lay down in the futon, cuddling his camera and looking forward to finally meeting Masuo the following day.

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But he was so excited that he woke up the next morning at 5:30, unable to sleep anymore. So instead he went for a stroll outside, where the day was dawning clear and bright, as if to celebrate his first meeting with Masuo.

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Even the arches of Yamaguchi’s famous Kintai Bridge seemed to be a metaphor for the connection he was about to make with the video uploader.

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Figuring he’d show up a little early and wait in the restaurant, Mr. Sato hopped in his car.

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▼ Soon, Masuo. Soon…

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But when he pulled into the parking lot, he was shocked to see the restaurant didn’t open until 10!

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There was no one else in the parking lot, either. Had Mr. Sato come all this way only to get stood up?

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Pulling out his phone, he dialed the number Masuo had given him, and soon heard the voice of the man he’d come so far to meet. When Mr. Sato explained the situation, Masuo informed him that the restaurant they’d agreed to meet at (Joyful), actually has two branches in the city they were in, and he was waiting at the other one, which was already open.

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So it was back in the car for another 10-minute drive…

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…and when he got to the town’s other Joyful, Masuo was waiting out front for him!

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▼ In actuality, Masuo is not a crudely drawn comic book character, but we’ve decided to take this measure to protect his privacy.

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Masuo turned out to be a soft-spoken, normal-looking guy. He wasn’t covered in YouTube copy gang prison ink or anything. As a matter of fact, the first words out of his mouth upon seeing us were “I’m sorry.”

The two moved into the restaurant and sat down at a booth, where Mr. Sato asked him a number of questions.

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Mr. Sato: “What made you decide to start making videos out of news site articles?”
Masuo: “I saw other YouTubers doing it, and decided I’d try it too.”
Mr. Sato: “Do you use any kind of specialized software?”
Masuo: “No, just Movie Maker, which came bundled with my PC.”
Mr. Sato: “So do you make a lot of money doing this?”
Masuo: “No, not at all. Just about 3,000 yen [US$27] a month.”
Mr. Sato: “What? Just 3,000? That hardly seems like it’s worth the time you’d spend on it, especially considering the large number of videos you upload.”
Masuo: “I really don’t make much at all from them.”

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Sato: “So what’s the point in doing it? Why do you do it even if you can’t make much money off it?”
Masuo: “Well, you see, the money isn’t really a motivating factor. It’s just fun to watch the view count go up.”
Sato: “But your videos don’t get that many views. Even the more popular ones are only at a few hundred.”
Masuo: “Yes, that’s right. But even still, I’m happy when their view counts go up. I’m happy even if 10 people watch them.”
Sato: “Yeah, even if it’s just a little bit more than it was before, it makes you feel like you did something worthwhile.”
Masuo: “That’s right.”
Mr. Sato: “But there’s no way you can survive on just 3,000 yen a month. Do you have a job?”
Masuo: “I’m currently studying in a specialized field. I’ll be taking an exam for the necessary license soon.”
Mr. Sato: “So you’re a company employee?”
Masuo: “Yes, in the company my father-in-law owns.”
Mr. Sato: “You responded to my email very quickly. Do you use a computer for work?”
Masuo: “Yes…um, I make the videos while I’m at work.”
Mr. Sato: “You shouldn’t do that. You’re supposed to be doing work for you father-in-law’s company.”
Masuo: “Yes, you’re right. I really shouldn’t do that.”

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Masuo: “I have to stop. I tell myself I have to, but…”
Mr. Sato: “So you secretly have Movie Maker running on your PC while you’re at work?”
Masuo: “Yeah, something like that.”
Mr. Sato: “You shouldn’t be doing that during work. At the very least, you should be doing it from your home PC. But more so than that, you shouldn’t be copying things for your videos without permission.”
Masuo: “I don’t have a PC at home…”
Mr. Sato: “What…”

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Masuo: “You might be angry to hear me say this, but this has really helped me. Even though I thought I had to stop, I couldn’t. If you hadn’t contacted me, I don’t know how long I would have gone on like that.”
Mr. Sato: “I’m glad to have been of help. Thank you for speaking with me.”

And so, with a complex mix of emotions, it was time to say good-bye. But before parting, Mr. Sato presented Masuo with a souvenir from Tokyo.

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▼ Nothing says “Everything is water under the bridge” like a Sazae-san-themed cake.

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So long, Masuo, and best of luck finding a better use for your time than the videos you’ve been making.

Images ©RocketNews24
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